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Aretha Franklin missed Whitney Houston memorial service due to health issues

02/19/2012 by OnTheRedCarpet.com Staff

Aretha Franklin was not able to attend Whitney Houston's memorial service on February 18 and the legendary singer cited health issues in a statement as the reason for her absence.

"Regretfully, I am so sorry that I was unable to be with you at Whitney's service today," Franklin said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet on February 18. "I had every intention of being there. But unfortunately I had terrible leg spasms and locked leg muscles until 4:00AM this morning following my concert last night [Friday], which I've been having for the last few days."

"I feel it necessary and very important to stay off my leg today as much as possible until concert time this evening," She added. "My heart goes out to my dear friend Cissy, Dionne, Bobbi Kristina and the rest of the family. May God keep them all."

The 69-year-old singer performed at a concert later that night at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the last stop on her "greatest hits" tour. During her show, Franklin sang part of "I Will Always Love You," and called Houston by her nickname "Nippy," according to the Associated Press.

"She was a very fine young lady" and "one of the best, greatest singers," Franklin said of Houston at the show. "She was giving, gave so much of herself."

"God bless you, Nippy," she added. "We'll always remember."

Houston was pronounced dead at age 48 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 11, a day before the 2012 Grammy Awards.

A memorial service was held for the singer on February 18 and included guests like Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Speakers included Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry, music mogul Clive Davis, who helped launch her career, gospel stars Kim Burrell and Donnie McClurkin, musical director Rickey Minor and Cece Winans, a gospel singer who is also the godmother of Houston's daughter. Gospel singer and pastor Marvin Winans gave the eulogy.

Costner gave an emotional speech that touched on their shared childhood experience growing up in Baptist churches, casting her in her iconic first role and her unwarranted insecurities.

The guest list also included Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and husband Jay-Z, Elton John, David Bowie, Bill Cosby and Chaka Khan, who was the original singer of "I'm Every Woman," another song Houston sang in "The Bodyguard," a source close to the matter told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Houston's body was laid to rest on February 19 at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey, where Houston was buried next to her father, John Russell Houston Jr., who died in 2003.

Franklin made headlines in January when she officially called off her brief engagement to longtime friend William "Willie" Wilkerson.

(Copyright ©2014 OnTheRedCarpet.com. All Rights Reserved.)
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